: Bowman, the Mets' 12th round pick way back in 2002, got his career off to a terrific start boasting very good power and strong defensive abilities. His career to date reached its peak in 2004 when he appeared in 116 games and hit .258 with 19 home runs and 69 RBI for Capital City in the South Atlantic League. Since then however, he has been troubled by a myriad of back troubles which has increasingly limited his time over the past three seasons as he has played in 87, 32 and six games respectively over the last three seasons. Nonetheless, when healthy, Bowman provides the best combination of offense and defense at third base more so than anyone in the organization.
He is a confident hitter with a strong aptitude of the strike zone who can play an important role at the big league level if his health allows. He did make it back in 2007 and made his debut on May 14 but finally accepted the fate of back surgery after just six games. His plan is to be back by July of this upcoming when a clean bill of health will hopefully allow him to finish the 2008 season on a high note to carry him into the winter ball season a little less than a year from now.
Closest to the Majors
As stated, the Mets farm system at this time is rather short on viable big league talent ready to make the leap from the higher levels of the organization to the big league club. Currently, it is rather unclear as to who could be "closest" to make a debut as the leading candidates are all in the lower ranks of the farm. Perhaps at this time next year a more definitive answer could be provided, yet with New Orleans and Binghamton filling their rosters with former big leaguers and other free agents, there is not a candidate from the farm who could come in a relieve the hot corner in the event of an injury to David Wright
. Thus, for the time being, this slot remains empty.
: Lucas was one of the few position players selected straight out of high school by the Mets in last June's draft, and immediately made an impression on scouts and coaches. Though he was hot and cold at times during his rookie season, Lucas showed good power and signs that he can naturally drive the ball to the opposite field. Though Lucas still has many years in pro ball to experience and even more growth to do physically, he could prove the Mets' right when they selected him with their fourth round pick.
Needs More Work
: The St. Lucie third baseman had a very strong 2007 season coming off the previous year which was truncated by a leg injury. After hitting .213 in just 25 games last season among various short-season squads, Murphy finally his breakout season in which he hit .285 with 11 home runs and 78 RBI in 135 games. Yet, despite taking his offensive game to a new level, there are questions as to whether or not Murphy's power will project to success at the big league level. He has always been a capable gap hitter who can spray the ball around the outfield for extras bases, but scouts would like to see that gap power translate into greater home run power as he moves up. Additionally, Murphy's defense was suspect last season as he committed a team-high 36 errors. The upside for Murphy is that the 2007 season was just his first complete year and on his second in the system. If he can develop more power and turn around his defense, he will shift the questioned path he is on at the moment.
The Jury is Still Out
: Ventura returned to the South Atlantic League last season after a very productive year with Hagerstown in 2006 in which he demonstrated good power by hitting 11 home runs and driving in 48 runs to go with a .231 average. Since the start of the 2006 season, he has been a mainstay at the hot corner playing a combined 255 games in that span. However, with little growth displayed at the plate last season, [his numbers in '07 virtually mirrored the previous year] it is rather unknown as to how Ventura plays into the organization's future plans at the position.
Although the position is firmly locked up at the big league level for the foreseeable future thanks to David Wright, there exists a short but talented list of talent on the farm who are determined to make a name for themselves. Inside Pitch continues its analysis of each position, this time looking at the hot corner.